Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can cause painful symptoms on either side of your head in front of your ears. The TMJ joint acts as the sliding hinge when talking, yawning, chewing, or doing anything that requires opening your mouth and can significantly affect the quality of your life when in pain. However, the Gaithersburg TMJ specialists can diagnose your condition and offer effective treatments to ease your pain and restore the quality of your life. But you can also help yourself as you seek treatment to get some pain relief.
Here are some self-help care tips to help you.
Avoid Certain Foods and Activities
If your TMJ joint is painful, it is hard even to eat your favorite foods. Although you might try eating, you must avoid hard or crunchy food and take fewer bites. Also, it would help to avoid eating foods that will require extended chewing and skip chewing gum. Avoid some activities like yelling and manage your yawning to lessen your pain. Note that such behaviors can make you forcefully open your mouth and excessively move your jaw, making your pain worse.
Notice Your Bad Habits
Some tendencies you might have could be the reason for your TMJ pain and may worsen your condition when you continue. Take note if you bite your nails, chew lips or cheeks, and grind or clench your teeth. Also, avoid resting your jaw on your hand when supporting your head. Note down any habit you have, track it down to discuss it with your doctor, and learn how to avoid it to ease your pain. Some behaviors seem minor but can worsen your TMJ pain if not managed.
Exercise Your Jaw
Several exercises for the jaw can help you find some pain relief. The exercises increase mobility in the joint, allowing you to open your mouth more comfortably. You can consult your doctor about stretching, strengthening, and relaxation exercises for your jaw. The exercises can help relieve pain, but you have to do them right.
Employ Hot and Cold Therapy
If your jaw is swollen, you can try cold therapy. Get some ice, wrap it on a dry cloth, and apply it to the joint to reduce swelling and minimize pain. But do not use the ice directly on your skin. You can also try heat to increase blood flow to the joint to boost blood flow and relax the muscles. Whether you apply the ice or the heat, place it only for about 15-20 minutes at a time and take a break before going again.
Wear a Mouthguard
A mouth guard or other oral appliances can help manage TMJ. It will help manage underlying issues that could be causing your pain, especially those teeth-related issues. It will also help you avoid grinding and clenching, which are some of the destructive behaviors that could result in or worsen your TMJ pain. To get a customized mouth guard, talk to your doctor. Do not just get a mouthguard from the local stores since it might not be effective. Only those customized molds can alleviate your TMJ pain.
When you experience pain when opening your mouth, it is hard to eat and speak, which is crucial for the quality of your life, TMJ pain treatments are available. Get in touch with the Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center to evaluate your options. Book your online appointment today and take a step towards finding pain relief.